1957 Rugby League World Cup

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1957 (1957) World Cup  ()
Number of teams 4
Host country  Australia
Winner  Australia (1st title)

Matches played 6
Attendance 214,918 (35,820 per match)
Points scored 204 (34 per match)
Top scorer Australia Brian Carlson (28)
Top try scorers United Kingdom Mick Sullivan (3)
Australia Ian Moir (3)
Australia Kel O'Shea (3)
 < 1954

The second Rugby League World Cup was held in Australia in 1957. As before a group stage was held first, with matches being held at locations in Sydney and Brisbane.

The 1957 World Cup marked the 50th anniversary of rugby league in Australia but the hosts were not confident of their ability to lift the trophy, having capitulated in the Ashes series in England barely seven months previously. Great Britain, under Alan Prescott, and boasting world-class backs such as Billy Boston, Mick Sullivan, Jeff Stevenson and Lewis Jones, and a formidable pack, were expected to win with Jacques Merquey's French side a dark horse.

In the end Australia were dominant, winning all matches and were declared the champions by virtue of finishing top of the group – there was no World Cup Final.[1] Best and fairest awards were made to individual nations, the recipients being Gilbert Benausse (France), Brian Carlson (Australia), Phil Jackson (Great Britain) and Bill Sorensen (New Zealand).



Captain/Coach Dick Poole Keith Barnes, Brian Carlson, Brian Clay, Brian Davies, Greg Hawick, Keith Holman, Ken Kearney, Ken McCaffery, Billy Marsh, Ian Moir, Kel O'Shea, Norm Provan, Ray Ritchie, Don Schofield, Tom Tyquin, Alex Watson, Harry Wells


Great Britain[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

  • Manager: Keith Blow (Canterbury)
  • Coach: Bill Telford (Auckland)
Name Region Position
Pat Creedy Canterbury FB
Vern Bakalich Auckland WG
Neville Denton Auckland WG
Tom Hadfield Auckland WG
Ron Ackland Auckland CE
Bill Sorensen Auckland CE
George P Turner Auckland CE
George Menzies (vc) West Coast SO
Sel Belsham Auckland HB
Jock Butterfield Canterbury HK
Bill McLennan West Coast PR
Henry Maxwell Auckland PR
Cliff Johnson (c) Auckland SR
Kevin Pearce Canterbury SR
Jim Riddell Auckland SR
John Yates Auckland SR
Rex Percy Auckland LF
Keith Bell Auckland Utility


Referee Vic Belsham from New Zealand controlled three matches at the World Cup, including controlling one of New Zealand's matches. New Zealand included his brother Sel at halfback.[2]


Sydney Brisbane
Sydney Cricket Ground Brisbane Cricket Ground
Capacity: 70,000 Capacity: 48,000
Sydney Showground and Cricket Ground 1936 (14019783946).jpg Full crowd in attendance at the first Test, Brisbane Cricket Ground, Bradman and Fingleton batting, 1936-37 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tour of Australia (16592562176).jpg


15 June
Australia  25–5  New Zealand
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Brisbane
Attendance: 29,636

Australia easily accounted for New Zealand but lost full-back Keith Barnes and scrum-half back Keith Holman with injuries for the remainder of the tournament.

15 June
France  5–23  Great Britain
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 50,077

A magnificent attendance of 50,077 converged on the Sydney Cricket Ground for this game between neutrals France and Great Britain. France was an absolute crowd favourite in Sydney at the time, having entertained successive crowds of 60,000 or more for the previous four Tests played against Australia at the SCG in 1951 and 1955 respectively.

17 June
Australia  31–6  Great Britain
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 57,995[3]

After a close first half the Australians smashed the Lions 31–6. Holman's replacement Ken McCaffery, makeshift fullback Brian Carlson and a dominant Australian pack were the main instruments in the carve-up of the British defence.

17 June
France  14–10  New Zealand
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Brisbane
Attendance: 22,142
22 June
Australia  26–9  France
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 35,158

This comfortable victory over the French saw Aussie skipper Dick Poole lead his men off the SCG as World Cup champions even before the final game was played on the same ground three days later.

25 June
Great Britain  21–29  New Zealand
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Attendance: 14,263

This game gave New Zealand their first ever win in a World Cup. A shell-shocked Britain matched the Kiwis try for try but Bill Sorensen's seven goals to Lewis Jones' three made the difference.

Final standings[edit]

Team Played Won Drew Lost For Against Difference Points
 Australia 3 3 0 0 82 20 +62 6
 Great Britain 3 1 0 2 50 65 −15 2
 New Zealand 3 1 0 2 44 60 −16 2
 France 3 1 0 2 28 59 −31 2


  1. ^ Paddy McAteer (22 December 2010) "Whole World in their Hands" Archived 5 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. North West Evening Mail
  2. ^ Neutral refs have always been a sticky issue[dead link] Sunday Star-Times, 30 November 2008
  3. ^ "Australia in Rugby Cup Win". The Age. 18 June 1957. p. 14. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 

External links[edit]